I started Maddie and Marie because I fell in love with the French sense of provincial style that reflects an unhurried pace and pleasure in life. English by birth, Australian by upbringing, Italian Grandparents on my father’s side and Australian and French on my mother’s side means that I connect with the openness of the Australian lifestyle and the history offered in Europe.
As a child I loved going to the ‘dump’ (now the sanitised Refuse Station) where my father would let me wander over the piles of debris until I found a treasure to bring home. One of my ‘finds’ was a battered seagrass couch that I salvaged and repaired. It sat on the veranda of my first home and on hot summer mornings it was my favourite place to sit and breastfeed my babies. I remember finding an old squatter’s chair that I pulled apart, sanded and repainted. When I was first married and very poor my week-ends were spent renovating furniture bought from Diamond’s second hand furniture warehouse in Newmarket. My vintage, antique, and contemporary furniture have grown up with me and enhanced every home I lived in.
While living in London, I used every visit to France as an opportunity to wander around the marchés aux puces (flea markets) in Paris and the vide-greniers and brocante markets in regional France looking for vintage finds. This was my way of relaxing if not my husband’s.
I have lived in old colonial houses and contemporary apartments and I believe that homes are nicest when there is a combination of furniture with history as well as the new and modern designs. My vintage pieces always make me pause from the frenetic pace of contemporary life and recharge the soul. There is a feeling of tranquillity and balance similar to the sense of Wabi-sabi with its emphasis on the slight imperfections and the gentle aging of these pieces.
I started buying homewares that urged me to reach out and touch them. You can see when something has been made with love and an attention to detail. Each piece has a story to tell and when you buy a piece from Maddie and Marie you can share this history and add yours to its storyline.
Who are Maddie and Marie?
Maddie and Marie were Susie’s grandmothers.
Maddie had a sense of adventure and with her husband Luigi, emigrated from Italy in 1922. She and her young husband raised their family in north Queensland where Maddie was renowned throughout the local farming community for her fabulous food, her aromatic vegetable garden and her skill in making lace and intricate needlework.
Marie was a 5th generation Australian with Irish and French ancestry. She loved entertaining, fast cars and had a great sense of style. Two of her homes were designed by leading Brisbane architects in the 1930s and 1950s and the interiors still look fantastic today.
You will find pictures of the lovely vintage and brocante items that Susie has brought home on Maddie and Marie’s Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.